The 7 Steps of the Selling Process

Every business has its own specific selling process, one which considers the unique needs of the customer, the history of the business, and the talents of the sales team. However, while the details of personal selling process might change for each rep and agent, many of the essential components stay the same. Here’s your guide to the 7 steps in most sales processes.

The 7 Steps of the Selling Process

The “7 steps of the selling process” are a series of valuable stages most sales professionals go through when converting a lead. These include:

1. Prospecting and Qualifying

The first step in the selling process is research. Sales professionals need to identify the companies or people most interested in buying their product or service. This is the prospecting stage, and it’s a foundational step in ensuring you’re not wasting time by pitching solutions to the wrong customers.

With successful prospecting and qualifying in the selling process, teams can collect leads (potential buyers), who are ready, waiting, and able to buy.

2. Preparation and pre-approach

The next stage in the 7 steps of selling is the preparation or pre-approach step. Before making a sales call, sending an email, or visiting a lead, sales teams need to do additional homework by researching the client and planning what they’re going to say. A good salesperson will learn as much as they can about a prospect, the buyer’s needs, and their relevant background information before pitching.

3. Approach

The third stage of selling process is the “approach”, where you make your first impression on a potential lead. You do this by introducing yourself, explaining the purpose of your visit or call, and establishing an initial rapport. First impressions are crucial here, as you need to develop credibility and earn the trust of your customer.

The approach involves an introduction, making some initial small talk, asking warm-up questions, and explaining who you are and what you represent. The approach can often feature different methods, such as the “premium approach”, where you give a potential client a gift to improve the chances of conversion, or “question approach” when you get someone interested with a question.

4. Presentation

The preparation and research parts of your selling process will start to have an impact when you reach the “presentation stage”. The presentation in selling process guidelines is often one of the most important parts of making a sale. By the time you’re ready to present, you need to understand the needs of your customers, and how your solution can fix their problem or help them reach their goals.

During the presentation, you’ll need to focus on highlighting the benefits of your product or service through videos, demonstrations, and conversations. During the presentation, it’s also possible to use cross-selling and upselling strategies to engage the customer further. Talking to your customers will help you to determine whether they can benefit from additional products ore related services to the one you were originally selling.

5. Handling objections

Following the presentation stage of the selling process, it’s natural for customers to have some objections (concerns, hesitations, or questions). The best sales people will look at these objections as opportunities to learn more about the customer’s needs. When talking to your lead, listen to the comments made by your customer, acknowledge their views, and respond with solutions.

Ask questions about the views of your customers and find ways to address the problem. It can be helpful to restate the customer’s objection, as saying it out loud can make it seem less significant. Ideally, you’ll need to be prepared for what customers say, and be ready to respond. For instance, if they say “I can’t chat right now”, you can say, “Let’s book a call for a time when you’re available.”

6. Closing the sale

Sometimes the most important and challenging of all the steps of selling is closing the sale. This is where you ask your customer if they’re ready to make the purchase and start processing the transaction. If your work in the other steps of the selling process have been successful, you should have convinced your customer to buy from you.

There are a range of closing strategies sales professionals can use, like the “alternative choice close”, where you can offer two options for customers to buy, such as “Are you going to pay entirely up-front, or in monthly instalments?” Other options include FOMO selling, where you let your customers know there are a limited supply of your offer available.

7. Follow up

The last stage of the selling process is the follow-up. After you’ve successfully made a sale, it’s important to keep track of the customer journey. Following up is an important step in ensuring customer satisfaction, retaining clients, and even helping you find new customers in the future. You can follow up with a thank-you note, or send a customer a request for feedback on their experience.

There are even opportunities to sell more products and services to your customer during the follow-up stage, by suggesting they can improve their experience with additional products, now available at a discount for existing customers.

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